Say, you don't like my pajamas !?
by Tibe (2013)
Japanese culture is filled with an impressive array of wacky monsters and superheroes wearing pajamas. In general, we're dealing with humanoids, giant or not, wearing a ball-molding full suit: Eightman, Bioman, X-Or, Megaloman, Mirrorman, Kamen Rider... In a word, a bunch of characters as grotesque as ridiculous. At least, for us, in the West! But in the land of the rising sun, pajamas are worn high and proud. In Japan, Ultraman stands - as well as Godzilla - as the most iconic and loved giant character ever. It was born in the sixties on the television and keeps going until today. Forty meters high and weighing thirty-five thousand tons, our friend fights from one episode to another a bunch of unreal monsters, coming straight out the imagination of sick brains. So just think, when comes the Super Famicom in 1990, Bandai makes itself a duty to offer an Ultraman game to the system, almost at its release. Moreover, this is the japanese version that is tested here, not to be confused with the euro and us conversions of the game (Towards The Future), substantially reworked.
And before the nineties' tidal wave of VS fighting, Ultraman was born during the spring 91' on the Nintendo 16-bit! Cutting the grass under the feet of Capcom and SNK, the Bandai title raid a significant market just ahead of the two editors: all the psychiatric hospitals' players. Incomprehensibly, the success of the soft will not reach anymore customers, revealing against all odds unable to attract other gamers. A phenomenon that remains unexplained today, although different theories are advanced: plot of the Judeo-Masonry, manipulation by Spiderman, non-recommendation of Stevie Wonder, threats from the specialized press... This last theory being the one used by the official version, as the videogame magazines made such bad press to Ultraman. Judge for yourselves: "Ultraman isn't even worth a look" Player One No. 24, "... arouses the most ludicrous enthusiasm" Micro News No. 47, "I puked" Gen4 No. 35 ... Someone, or something, wanted the commercial failure of this powerful hit. And history shows us that, unfortunately, they have succeeded.
Okay, the graphics are not 'fabulous', but please don't forget that the SNES was in its infancy then! Still, these are almost worthy of a Master System programmed by a twelve years-old child, which is not bad if you look closely. The backgrounds are mostly natural landscapes or large japanese cities, sometimes completely devastated. As for the hero, how charismatic! Ultraman obviously steals the show with his beautiful red and purple pajamas (a beautiful mix of colors), but his opponents are more gorgeous than each other. Just by mentioning their names, you can already guess: Bemular, Mefilas, Telesdon, Jamyra ... mutants, aliens, residues of miscarriage ... we are provided a wicked bestiary, hyper-faithful to the TV series, that is to say coming straight out of a manic imagination. The icing on the cake is that this is incredibly well animated. We can say that Ultraman moves damn smooth, taking into account his chronic incontinence, wooden legs and also his generalized osteoarthritis. As for his enemies, they're as lively and flexible as they're beautiful and charismatic.
Add to that a soundtrack worthy of "Chuck Norris against the Ninja Turtles" with the sound effects from Turkish Star Wars, and you will understand that we're facing a title that honors the 16-bit systems and the whole human race. But describing Ultraman is one thing, to live it is another. For beyond the aesthetic scale hides a rich, deep and technical game that will take versus fighting games aficionados breath away for a long time. Most complainers might lament the lack of two-players gaming, the meanest might mention the limited roster, then yes, of course. They forget too quickly the technical dimension of the soft: punch, kick, laser on four levels, jump (assigned to a button), rolls, throws... but also the intensity of the fights, hard to describe: amazing speed of action, grotesque variety of clashes, immeasurable vice of enemies, phenomenal violence... Ultraman is clearly not a game to be put in all hands. Bandai still hits hard with that title, marking forever the history of video games, but also the brains of the fools who dared play this game!
|Oh yes it's that ugly, harshly drawn, ridiculous... But it's not even what the game has worst.|
|Slow, jerky, inaccurate, anemic, farcical.. ok, I'll stop there, it's enough!|
|The musics are worth real giant monsters junk movies and will not disappoint fans! The effects are so ugly that in the end, they're funny... So it's not so bad if we can laugh!|
|There's only nine monsters to beat in a single round, no room for improvement, no depth, and not even the possibility to play with a friend: we hit the bottom!|
|Ultraman is literally rotten: programmers didn't even thought about the gameplay. Right when you begin to play, you realize you got screwed.|
|Bandaï once more signs a particularly crappy game using a licence as it always did, but it shall be admitted that the editor this time hit harder than ever: Ultraman is a radioactive waste that stains forever the Super Nintendo.|
SAME ON THE NEO?
There's King of the Monsters on the Neo Geo, released the same year, that offers a great quality fighting between monsters! If you're looking for the 'ugly game' side, try Fight Fever: you might fall in love with it!